E.U. Summitt To Discuss Currency Commission

European Union leaders will discuss how better to integrate their budgets and banks at a two-day summit that begins in Brussels Thursday. The most controversial proposal comes from the German finance minister, who wants the body to appoint a currency commission with the power to veto budgets of eurozone states.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts a plan to save the euro.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: A week after the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize, its leaders are meeting in Brussels to discuss strengthening their fiscal union to help stabilize European economies. Any the afterglow from receiving the peace prize has been dimmed by renewed divisions on how best to tackle the debt crisis, which suggests that this meeting won't make much progress.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: EU leaders are expected to steer clear of tackling the financial troubles in Greece and Spain, and instead focus on how to unify the region's banks and economies.

A banking union proposal - many of them backed at June's summit - is seen as key to ensuring a viable single currency. The plan calls for strengthening the European Central Bank's role by giving it control of private banks. They are currently regulated by the central banks of the country they are located in.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble doesn't feel the proposal goes far enough. He's calling for the appointment of a currency commissioner with veto power over nations' budgets.

PIETER DE WILDE: You should see the proposal by Wolfgang Schaeuble as a kind of price for the banking union.

NELSON: That's Pieter de Wilde, an analyst at Berlin's Social Science Center. He says the banking union would provide a vital safety net to poorer member states.

WILDE: So what Schaeuble wants in return for this is a guarantee that the public debts of these countries don't go even further astray than they are currently.

NELSON: The finance minister's boss, Chancellor Angela Merkel, cautioned against hopes for a quick fix.

CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL: (German spoken)

NELSON: Speaking at the Bundestag, Merkel reminded people that the problems with the Euro were not created overnight.

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Berlin.

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